People - Music Business

Music Business Faculty: Linda Ury Greenberg


B.A., Wellesley College
EdM, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Experience and Background

Linda Ury Greenberg has 30 years of Consumer Research experience at CBS Records, Sony BMG and Sony Music.  Her love for music didn’t start there, though.  She played flute through middle and high school, marching in the high school band, playing in the orchestra and flute ensemble.  She sang in the high school chorus and several school musicals.  Her mother was a piano teacher, her father ran radio stations and her brother played bass guitar in a band, so music was a huge part of her life growing up and it continues to be just as important to her family today.

At Sony Music, as VP of Consumer Research, Linda spearheaded groundbreaking research studies on artists such as Celine Dion, Elvis Presley, Adele, Carrie Underwood and Pearl Jam.  She conducted research on dozens of new concepts and products, including the compact disc, SACD, Dual Disc and music-based social media videogames. She created several panels to help the music company better listen to “the voice of the consumer” and conducted numerous focus groups and one-on-one interviews with all age groups.  Linda developed ways to present consumer demographic data to brands that helped Sony Music win millions of dollars in new business and promotional partnerships from fashion, credit card, beverage and other companies.

Linda chaired music industry trade association research committees for the RIAA and NARM and has been the Sony Music representative to a Sony-wide research committee, which enabled the individual organizations to make smarter purchases of syndicated research.  She is a frequent guest speaker at research and industry conferences, including the annual Market Research Event (TMRE). 

Through her independent consulting business, Linda has worked on a wide range of projects, handling research on iconic celebrities such as Muhammad Ali, analyzing music discovery and gifting research for NARM, overseeing a research report for a charity and writing a white paper on digital content.

Why I Decided to Work in the Music Industry:
I grew up around music and it has been a part of my life since I can remember.  I started my career in advertising research but, when a headhunter called me and asked if I had any interest in a job at CBS Records, I jumped at the opportunity to interview and was beyond thrilled when I got the position.  My children have always been amused that I was the mom who knew what music was hot before they did and could sing along with songs on the radio as we drove to school! 

What I Like Most About Teaching:
I am very excited that I can bring my research spin to a graduate level class on Promotion and Publicity in the Music Industry.  I enjoy learning from and interacting with the students and seeing them learn from each other.  So much of what we cover in the class has direct, practical application for their everyday work in the industry.  It’s very gratifying to see how the students found new insights that transformed their thinking about this ever-changing business.

Class Tips for Students:
Be open-minded and creative in your approach to assignments and learning.  Read everything you can about the music industry and related new technology companies (in addition to assigned readings, of course!), since the industry morphs into something new each week.  Learn to be collaborative – much of what happens in the music world and corporate America involves team-building and you will thrive if you have those skills, as well as strong independent work abilities.

Career Tips for Students:
Everyone will tell you that the music industry is a people business and that is very true.  You never know who will be able to help you down the road, so be respectful, engaging and “on your game” in any encounters, no matter who it is and what job title they hold.  Ask questions, since you never know where the answer will lead you.  I always told people that my job was to solve problems and answer questions and that should be true in whatever career path you choose to follow.  Be sure to hone your writing skills – being a good writer, finding your own voice, will help you in any job in this industry.  Enjoy what you do – this is a fun but often challenging business, so be sure to stop occasionally and go, "Wow, I can’t believe I saw this artist perform in a little club before they became famous” or “I had an impact on this artist’s career."

Outside Interests:
I am very involved with my local Wellesley College club and class, organizing programs and reunions.  I love going to plays and musicals as much as I can afford!  Taking long walks along a body of water on a sunny spring or fall day is nirvana.  The stack of books on my nightstand shows I love to read but there is never enough time.  We still subscribe to the physical newspaper, so first thing in the morning I get my New York Times crossword puzzle fix.

Favorite Music:
I can never choose one genre when people ask me this question since I am a huge fan of artists from Billy Joel to Ben Folds, anything Motown or Beatles, all Stephen Sondheim shows, singer-songwriters like Adele and Laura Nyro and Classical pieces like Porgy & Bess or Tosca.  In addition, my daughter and I love to dance around the kitchen to anything with a good beat, so the list goes on and on and on….